|Full name||Luciano Gabriel Figueroa Herrera|
|Date of birth||19 May 1981|
|Place of birth||Santa Fe, Argentina|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Johor Darul Takzim|
|2008–2009||→ Boca Juniors (loan)||17||(7)|
|2013–||Johor Darul Takzim||22||(11)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of Oktober 14, 2014.
† Appearances (Goals).
Luciano Gabriel "Lucho" Figueroa Herrera (Spanish pronunciation: [lusiˈano fiɣeˈɾoa]; born 19 May 1981) is an Argentina international footballer who plays as a striker for Malaysia Super League team Johor Darul Takzim FC.
Figueroa was born in Santa Fe. He began his professional career with Primera División club Rosario Central, where he formed a partnership with César Delgado. In the 2003 Clausura, Figueroa finished as Argentina's leading goalscorer with 17 goals, including scoring five in the last match of the season against an under-strength Boca Juniors. This was his last season at Rosario Central. Both he and Delgado transferred overseas in the summer of 2003, with Figueroa joining English Premier League club Birmingham City for a fee of £2.5 million.
Controversy arose when Spanish club Osasuna claimed that Figueroa had signed a contract with them before his move to Birmingham, thereby invalidating the transfer. At the end of August 2003 FIFA ruled provisionally in Birmingham's favour, but it was not until October that this ruling was finally confirmed. Figueroa had been close to joining Rangers earlier that summer but the Glasgow club pulled out of the deal.
Though Figueroa was scoring freely for Birmingham's reserve team, manager Steve Bruce believed he would struggle in the Premiership due to his physique. After only one League appearance, as a late substitute in a 2–0 defeat of Portsmouth, and one outing in the League Cup, his contract was annulled and he signed for Cruz Azul of the Primera División de México, where he was reunited with former teammate Delgado.
After a slow start Figueroa returned to his old form with Cruz Azul, scoring 9 goals in the last 7 games of the 2004 Clausura. He maintained his form in the 2004 Apertura, scoring 10 goals in 14 games for the club.
His exceptional performances for Cruz Azul led to a transfer to Spain, where he signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with Villarreal in November 2004. The transfer fee was officially undisclosed, but was estimated in the media as €3 million.
Figueroa made less of an impact at Villarreal. Even so, he helped the club to a third-place finish in La Liga in the 2004–05 season and contributed in the early rounds of Villarreal's progression to the semi-final of the 2005–06 Champions League – including scoring the club's first ever Champions League goal, against Everton in the third qualifying round.
In January 2006, apparently concerned that his lack of playing time would adversely affect his chances of selection for Argentina at the 2006 World Cup, Figueroa returned to his home country. He joined River Plate, who bought 50% of the rights to the player. He started well there, scoring three goals in his first seven games of the 2006 Clausura, but on 5 March 2006 he suffered a cruciate ligament injury which effectively put an end to his career with River.
On 1 August 2006, Villarreal sold Figueroa to Genoa of Serie B for a reported $13-million fee. He signed a four-year contract with the club. Though still not fully recovered from his injury, medical opinion was that Figueroa should have been able to play again by mid-October. However it became clear that the knee reconstruction had not been completely successful and that another operation would be needed. It was predicted that this further surgery would keep him from playing that season.
Figueroa eventually made his debut for Genoa, by this time in Serie A, on 28 October 2007 as a second-half substitute against Fiorentina, and scored his first goal for the club some six weeks later, a stoppage time consolation in a 3–1 defeat at home to Siena.
Figueroa was loaned from Genoa to Boca Juniors in October 2008. He played an important role during the Torneo Apertura by scoring important goals as the title race was between Boca Juniors, Tigre and San Lorenzo, who were level on points at the top of the table. Eventually, Figueroa's performances helped Boca to win the Torneo Apertura.
After Genoa released the player, he returned to his first club, Rosario Central. After passing a medical examination on his knee, he signed a two-and-a-half-year contract on 20 January 2010.
On 6 February 2013, he was released on a free transfer by Emelec and joined Greek club Panathinaikos until the end of the season. He made his debut in a crucial game against AEK Athens that Panathinaikos won 2–0. On 9 March 2013 he scored his first goal for the Greens, with a successful penalty kick against AO Kerkyra. He scored a goal in an away match against Olympiacos in a match that ended 1–1.
On 12 September 2013, Figueroa signed once again with the Greens for one year.
Johor Darul Takzim
Figueroa signed a three-year contract, reportedly worth $1.5 million annually, with Malaysia Super League team Johor Darul Takzim in December 2013. The transfer fee was $1m. Figueroa score his 1st goal in the 88th minutes after a wonderful through pass from Safiq Rahim to put Johor Darul Takzim their first win 2-0 against Perak FA for opening season.
Figueroa has appeared for the Argentina national football team while playing for Cruz Azul and Villarreal CF, performing impressively in the Copa América 2004 and the 2005 Confederations Cup – where only the Brazilian Adriano outscored him – and was part of the gold medal-winning Argentina team at the 2004 Summer Olympics. At international level, he boasts a strike-rate of 60%, with 9 goals from 15 appearances. The cruciate injury deprived him of the chance to represent his country at the 2006 World Cup.
|Olympic medal record|
- "FIFA Confederations Cup: Argentina". FIFA. Retrieved 7 October 2011.
- Castro Serna, Emmanuel (2 July 2005). "Argentina – List of Topscorers". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Boca celebrate in one stadium, routed 7–2 in another". Sports Illustrated. 6 July 2003. Retrieved 28 January 2008.
- "Figueroa joins Blues". BBC Sport. 23 July 2003. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- Esteva, Robert (18 August 2003). "Confusion over Figueroa deal". 365 Media Group. Press Association. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- Nursey, James (20 August 2003). "Blues win first round in Fig fight". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- Nursey, James (29 October 2003). "Figueroa cleared to flourish at Blues". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Agent disgusted by Rangers". BBC Sport. 10 July 2003. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- Scott, Ged (24 December 2003). "Figueroa flops back across the Atlantic". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Blues inflict Pompey defeat". BBC Sport. 27 September 2003. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Blackpool 1–0 Birmingham". BBC Sport. 23 September 2003. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
- Tattum, Colin (24 December 2006). "Blues write off £2.5m Lucho". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "El internacional argentino Luciano Figueroa, nuevo jugador del Villarreal C.F." [The Argentina international Luciano Figueroa, Villarreal's new player] (in Spanish). Villarreal CF. 24 November 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "El Villarreal ficha al internacional argentino Luciano Figueroa" [Villarreal sign Argentina international Luciano Figueroa]. Terra Deportes (in Spanish). EFE. 24 November 2004. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Figueroa upbeat despite tough break". FIFA World Cup 2006 Official Site. FIFA. 18 April 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Villarreal sign Franco, Figueroa moves to River Plate". ESPNsoccernet. Reuters. 18 January 2006. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- "Luciano Figueroa se incorpora al Génova" [Luciano Figueroa joins Genoa] (in Spanish). Esmas. Associated Press. 1 August 2006. Retrieved 12 September 2008.
- "La mala racha continúa" [The bad luck goes on] (in Spanish). ESPN Deportes. 22 November 2006. Retrieved 19 July 2007.
- "Genoa 0–0 Fiorentina". Football Italia. Channel 4. 28 October 2007. Archived from the original on 27 November 2007.
- "Genoa 1–3 Siena". Football Italia. Channel 4. 9 December 2007. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007.
- "Rosario Central afronta su segundo amistoso" [Rosario Central face their second friendly] (in Spanish). CA Rosario Central. 19 January 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Luciano Figueroa firmó el contrato que lo vincula a Rosario Central" [Luciano Figueroa signs the contract that ties him to Rosario Central] (in Spanish). CA Rosario Central. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 23 September 2010.
- "Figueroa leaves Genoa for home". UEFA. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2010.
- Freitas, Paulo (13 June 2013). "Luciano Figueroa transfer to Náutico falls through". Sambafoot. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
"Lucho Figueroa alega problemas pessoais e não assina com o Náutico" [Lucho Figueroa cites personal problems and isn't signing for Náutico] (in Portuguese). UOL. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- Wood, Graham (13 September 2013). "Former Argentina striker Figueroa re-signs for Panathinaikos". Yahoo! News. Reuters. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- "Panathinaikos's Figueroa moves to Malaysia". FIFA. AFP. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- (Spanish) Argentine Primera statistics
- Luciano Figueroa career stats at Soccerbase
- Statistics at Guardian Stats Centre
- Player profile and stats at FootballDatabase